There’s something eerie, a bit Mary Celeste about this place. It’s as if the workforce has downed tools and headed to the pub for lunch, and you almost expect them to be back in a minute. Except they won’t, of course, because this is the technical hub of Lola, one of the great racing car constructors, but one that hasn’t produced an Indycar, sports car or anything else since 2012 when the company, with a collective sigh that reverberated throughout motor sport, closed its doors. This isn’t some museum, however, frozen for posterity in memory of a constructor that, first under founder Eric Broadley and later in the hands of proud Irishman Martin Birrane, continually batted above its (perceived) average. To borrow from Star Wars, this is a fully armed and operational battle-station – and it’s all for sale, ready and waiting for the third age of Lola to begin.
Unless you know where it is, finding Lola in an unremarkable industrial estate on the outskirts of Huntingdon would be a tall order. But accurate directions take us to Chris Saunders, Lola old boy, guardian and operational manager for the technical facility. We’re here for a tour from Saunders and engineering consultant David McRobert, who has been retained to clinch a sale by Peer Group, Birrane’s umbrella company that owns Lola Group Holdings. So is a Lola revival really possible? To find out, we first ask what is for sale? The short answer is all of it – not just the technical facility and its prized wind tunnel.